My Radio and Desert Island Discs

This morning, flipping through internet news feeds and social media I was reminded about my favourite old pal, one that I’d be hard pressed to live without… that important ‘friend’ is my radio. Writing in The Guardian, Zoe Williams penned Symphonies in sea to highlight the fact, Desert Island Discs has been around for 75yrs.

When a format has been alive longer than you have, its place in your life is more like that of a family member than a programme… (Zoe Williams)

Desert Island DiscsCoincidently her article also reminded me of one of my old blog posts from several years ago on the same topic (see My Sleepy Lagoon). Back then I donned my ‘castaway’ hat and offered my own meaningful selections; whether I would make the exact same choices again now or not, would undoubtedly require some additional thought.

That’s one of the great hidden attributes of radio and music in general, for me both tend to be more of a thinking person’s form of entertainment, unlike television most of the time. You’re actually required to do the visualisation in your head, a bit like books and I like that. I find radio far more relaxing than the TV but importantly, it can also provide some therapeutic exercise for the old grey cells!

Just before Christmas Bruce Springsteen, that rock stalwart and doyen of iconic music to so many, provided his ‘castaway’ choices. He alluded to the fact music for him, like me and many others no doubt, generally has meaning and a purpose as opposed to just being a pleasant noise. It can and often does prompt us to recall thoughts and emotions about events and people, like a bookmark for the pages in your brain.

This is the music that electrified me… These songs galvanised me into changing my life in some way…(Bruce Springsteen)

In her article Ms Williams explained that for many of the avid listeners, Desert Island Discs isn’t just about what music the ‘castaway’ enjoys. It is far more than that, it’s more about causes of their choice, it’s about the thoughts of the person and their personal feelings about a particular tune. It’s having that opportunity to examine those ‘brain bookmarks’ owned by someone else. Like many others I love good music however; I also find it interesting to understand why people tick the way they do.

There is nothing like the disappointment of a subject who just doesn’t like music that much, and stuffs their choices with “amusing” Victorian music hall hits and spoken word. Yet it is, frankly, incredible how rare that is – unless there is a cutting-room floor somewhere, full of tone-deaf Nobel prize-winners. Music as an expression, not just of oneself but of one’s best self, seems to be a thread running through us all, weaving us into a meaningful tapestry…(Zoe Williams)

To my mind, it’s actually little wonder that the programme has been running for as long as it has. If you’ve never listened you’re missing something worthwhile. The good thing about coming to something late in today’s digital age is now often, you can find all the stuff you have missed. The website allows you to flip back through the castaway archives and podcasts to find something that might interest you. It’s also a great resource for those who like to tax their brains at quizzes!


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